2018 HONOREES

​2018 LPVBF Distinguished Lecturer

​Eric Jerome Dickey

Eric Jerome Dickey is the author of 25 novels, more than a dozen of them becoming New York Times bestsellers, including  “Bad Men and Wicked Women,” “Finding Gideon,” “Blackbirds” “One Night,” “A Wanted Woman” and “Decadence” – just to name a few.  He is also the author of a six-issue miniseries of comic books for Marvel Enterprises, featuring X-men’s Storm and the Black Panther. His novel, “Naughty or Nice” has been optioned by Lionsgate Films.
 
The Memphis native specializes in urban fiction, and consistently makes the best sellers lists, including his latest New York Times bestselling novel, “Bad Men and Wicked Women,” an erotic romantic thriller, released April 2018. Right now, you can pre-order its sexy prequel of star-crossed lust, titled “Before We Were Wicked,”  set for release next year.
 
Dickey’s books have consistently held positions on national and regional bestseller lists, including Blackboard Bestsellers List, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He’s nabbed multiple nominations for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work. Dickey has made a name for himself as "one of the few kings of popular African-American fiction for women," according to the New York Times.

​“Bad Men and Wicked Women” by Eric Jerome Dickey | a synopsis
As a low-level enforcer in Los Angeles, Ken Swift knows danger, but nowhere does he feel it more than in his tangled romances. Divorced from one woman, in love with another, and wrestling with a strong desire to get to know a third, his life is far from perfect, and it becomes all the more complicated when his troubled daughter resurfaces on the same day as a major job. Margaux is pregnant, bitter, and desperate: she needs $50,000 immediately, and she isn't above blackmailing Ken to get it. Yet even as the tension-filled father/daughter reunion escalates into a clashing of wills and desires that spread far beyond their family, Ken's latest contract spirals quickly out of control, and he finds it is not only his daughter looking to seek revenge.

2018 Leimert Park Village Book Fair Ambassador

Kristi Eddy, Mrs. California 2017

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair is happy to announce Kristi Eddy as the 2018 book fair ambassador. She is also the reigning Mrs. California-America, and previously wore the title of Mrs. Carson 2017. Eddy is the first African American Mrs. California to be selected as a semi-finalist at the Mrs. America Pageant.
 
The beauty queen is the author of the children’s book, “Beauty Is,” (also available in Spanish, “Le Belleza Es”), which address the definition of beauty for children of young ages to understand. The 44-page book, complete with with illustrations, takes young readers on a journey to discover all the places where beauty is found, and unearath the secret of true beauty.
 
As a former bullied, special education student, Eddy prides herself on being the unconventional beauty queen that says “no” to beauty norms. She wants everyone to know that beauty is undefined.  And she hopes that her reign as Mrs. California will serve as inspiration for her students to reach beyond their wildest dreams, while emphasizing the importance of inner beauty and courage.
 
With more than a decade of experience in education, Eddy serves as an assistant principal at the Alliance Simon Technology Academy High School in Watts. She’s also a women’s health advocate, bringing awareness to infertility. In fact, she founded the Women’s Ovarian & Medical Education Network, a 501(c)( 3) non-profit corporation dedicated to advancing women’s reproductive health through education, advocacy and research.   

LPVBF 2018 HONOREE

Gregory A Dulan, Restaurateur

Los Angeles native Gregory A. Dulan is a father, mentor, philanthropist and an example of a business leader who has turned his passion into profit.   He is the owner and operator of the eatery, Dulan’s on Crenshaw as well as Dulan’s Catering, specializing in southern cuisine. Dulan’s cuisine has fed thousands, and served as a backdrop for countless events in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. To keep up with trends in the food industry, Dulan travels extensively throughout the United States, touring soul food restaurants and meeting with other restaurateurs.
 
As second-generation restaurateur, Dulan has followed in the footsteps of his late father, Adolf Dulan, who was affectionately known as the “King of Soul Food.”  Adolf Dulan, who learned how to cook on a farm in Luther, Oklahoma from his mother as she made the family meals, is famously remembered as the owner of two of the most nationally-recognized soul food joints in Los Angeles – that is, Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in Marina Del Rey, Calif. and Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchens in Los Angeles and Inglewood, Calif. To keep his father’s memory alive, Greg Dulan and the Dulan family have established the Adolf A. Dulan Entrepreneurial Scholarship for college students accepted into Howard University’s Business College.  Their first scholarship recipient was awarded in 2017, the same year of Adolf Dulan’s death.
 
In 2015, Greg Dulan celebrated his 29th anniversary in the restaurant and catering business. His establishment -- Dulan’s on Crenshaw – is located in the heart of the affluent African American community at 4839 Crenshaw Boulevard in Leimert Park. It is open seven days a week, and the go-to place for many of LA’s who’s who.
 
It’s apparent that Greg Dulan is carving out his own legacy as the “Restaurant and Catering Connoisseur of Soul Food” of Los Angeles. He is an alumnus of Howard University’s Business College and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.  For more information, visit DulansOnCrenshaw.comhttp://www.dulansoncrenshaw.com/

LPVBF 2018 HONOREE

Mildred Pitts Walter

Mildred Pitts Walter is an award-winning author of 21 books for young readers and a lifetime activist in the civil rights and human rights movements. Born in Louisiana in 1922, and raised at the height of the Jim Crow era, she graduated from Southern University, then moved to Los Angeles as part of the Great Migration.

Walter earned her teaching credential at California State University and taught elementary school in the Los Angeles school system.  Her students were all African Americans, and she realized that there were few books written that allowed them to see themselves.  With the encouragement of a Los Angeles publisher she decided to tackle the problem and wrote her first book in 1969, Lillie of Watts, a Birthday Discovery.  It was successful and generated both a sequel and a stellar career as a children’s author.  In each of her books Walter imparts to young readers the ideas of choice, courage and change.

Walter’s husband, Earl Walter, headed the Los Angeles chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  Together they had two sons and a strong commitment to social justice.  During the 1950s and 1960s they worked to eliminate discrimination against African Americans in Los Angeles hotels and public housing, and sought training and fair employment of minorities in banks and retail stores.  They simultaneously supported the voter registration and de-segregation movements happening in the South.  Walter used her pen to help children understand the history and struggle of blacks in the award-winning books Girl On The Outside, Trouble’s Child and Justin and the Best Biscuits In The World.  She has received the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Christopher Award, the Parents Choice Award for Literature, and she is a two-time recipient of the National Council for the Social Studies’ Carter G. Woodson Book Award

After her husband death, Walter moved to Denver, Colo., where she became an organizer in providing financial and educational support to low-income women.  In 1996, she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. Widely traveled, Mildred has read her work and met with other artists and activist in more than twenty countries. In 2015, she recorded an oral history for the new Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

At 95, Mildred continues to share her life story with audiences from middle school children to college students and continues to work for peace and racial justice.  She recently relocated from northern California to Altadena, Calif.  Her autobiography, Something Inside So Strong, is being considered for publication, and recent writing includes her well-received essay, “A Plea For Reconciliation.” 

LPVBF 2018 HONOREE

Franklin Bell of Franklin Bell’s Blues Workshop

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair is excited to honor bluesman Franklin Bell of Franklin Bell’s Blues Workshop.  His guest performers will treat book attendees to an old-fashioned jam session to close out the book fair.
 
In 1968, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama native moved to LA as part of the Great Migration. Bell loves the blues. So much so, that when his gas station closed, due to construction of the 105 Freeway, he decided to pursue his love of music, and started gigging around town. As he got older, touring took a toll on his body; so, he built a garage and founded the blues workshop to keep the music alive in South Central’s African American community.
 
Every Sunday, you can find him and other musicians from surrounding areas of Los Angeles, picking their guitars and strumming at 632 E. Colden Ave. in South Central, Los Angeles. The octogenarian has been hosting the Franklin Bell’s Blue Workshop for almost 15 years, and he’s not slowing down. He doesn’t play as much as he used to. Instead, he provides a space for the next generation of bluesmen to jam to their heart’s content.
 
In 2015, Bell was featured in LA Weekly’s People Issue.  Check it out here:
https://www.laweekly.com/music/las-coolest-blues-joint-is-franklin-bells-south-central-garage-5534058
 
Reporting from Peter Gilstrap of the LA Weekly contributed to this bio blurb on Franklin Bell

2018 Leimert Park Village Book Fair Ambassador